3 Playful Pavilions at the 2016 London Festival of Architecture

3 Playful Pavilions at the 2016 London Festival of Architecture

The 2016 London Festival of Architecture wraps up on June 30, after a month of talks, tours and exhibits spread across the British capital city. Highlights include these lively outdoor installations that demand interaction and inspire wonder.


Pinwheel Pavilion, as seen at the 2016 London Festival of Architecture

Pinwheel Pavilion
Installed at the Museum Gardens, Pinwheel – inspired by the children’s plaything – is an inventory of thousands of propeller-like wooden wheels installed on a tightly packed arrangement of stainless steel pillars.

The interactive project, created by London-based Five Line Projects, is this year’s Triumph pavilion – the product of the annual ArchTriumph competition, which asks architects and design teams from around the world to propose a temporary and transportable pavilion that responds to a prescribed theme.

The theme for 2016 is energy. ‘Pinwheel – The Collective Energy of Community,’ the pavilion’s full name, explores the potential for a single action to trigger widespread reaction, promoting the thinking that one person can propel the wellbeing of an entire community.

The bamboo wheels are aligned in such a way that a push of one causes a domino effect, with each adjacent wheel spinning in succession. Passersby are encouraged to walk inside the pavilion and interact with the pinwheels, keeping the installation in perpetual motion.


An image of The Milkshake Tree, as seen at the 2016 London Festival of Architecture

The Milkshake Tree
pH+ Architects, in collaboration with the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy, created an experiential installation in the form of a “secret garden” outside of the city’s NOW Gallery.

Taking its cues from the firm’s plans for the Centre’s playful extension, Milkshake Tree is a sensory playground that inspires exploration through sight, sound, scent, movement, light and touch.

Copper pipes affixed to wood slats frame a walkway-turned-xylophone that children can play as they ascend the ramp. At the top, the path wraps around a 12-square-metre gold mirrored cube – perforated with leaf shapes – containing an Amelanchier tree and a glass prism, which radiates a kaleidoscopic display of colour and light.

Following the festival’s wrap, the Milkshake Tree – named for a request the firm heard from a child for such a plant – will be installed at the Centre as permanent play equipment.


The Hive at dusk, as seen at the 2016 London Festival of Architecture

The Hive
This multi-award-winning installation by artist Wolfgang Buttress made its debut at the 2015 Milan Expo, where it mesmerized crowds and earned the UK Pavilion a gold medal for Best Pavilion for Architecture & Landscape. It’s now back in England – the first British pavilion to be returned and reused – and enjoying a new life at Kew Gardens.

Festival-goers can wander inside the hive-like latticework, formed from 170,000 pieces of aluminum and soaring 17 metres high, to gawk at the flickering lights and fluctuating buzzing sounds.

The undulation of the lights (thousands of LEDs) and noises (a soundtrack created by the band Spiritualized, featuring 40,000 bees, human vocals and instruments) is controlled by the vibrations of real honeybees, living in a hive connected to the installation at Kew.

Designed in collaboration with Simmonds Studio and BDP, The Hive serves as reminder of the important role honeybees play as pollinators in various ecosystems and calls attention to the threats their populations face today.

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